Living around the area, there’s still a lot of shops I still haven’t had the chance to try out yet. Most of them look pretty shady, in the sense that they’ve had their good share over the years. Most likely family run and/or owned and should be pretty reputable if they’re still here while more fancy and hipster shops are opening up, that or that they’re just waiting for a buyout or closure.
I’ve driven by Ikura Japanese Restaurant many times getting to and from work, so I automatically knew where it was when Big Fly mentioned it later that evening. Big Fly has a friend from Hong Kong that travels back to Vancouver for vacations, and every single time he would dine at Ikura. Apparently, his friend is a major foodie, so trusting his opinions he dragged me to try it out. After I had finished up at Moxie’s, I went home for him to drive me down here. The outside didn’t look too appealing, inside decor gave you a ‘bang-for-your-buck’ type sushi restaurant, similar to AYCEs.
We waited a bit before someone attended to us at the door even though there were only two tables. We let that pass, however, the entire vibe of the restaurant was somewhat off during the whole time we were studying what to order. We decided to order a few items to try out first, before we venture out and order more and regret afterwards.
The waitress seemed new, as I had to repeat some menu items back for her, yet she was polite and had good mannerism. I forgotten to take a picture of it, not that it matters now, of the sake that was ordered. 松竹梅 Sho Chiku Bai – mio, which was a sparkling sake, was brought to our table in room temperature even though we had asked for it to be cold. We waved our waitress down and asked if there was a different bottle, she said no and returned with an ice bucket instead. We shrugged it off, and let it sit in the bucket for a while before opening it. Since it was only 300ml, I thought it would have been chilled enough, opened it and poured it out. To our surprise, there was no fizz at all, and a yellow just a tinge past pale. We both looked at each other, eyes widened, and took a tiny sip. It was disgusting, for obvious reasons, the sake was most likely one put on display and have been up on display for some
time years now. Our speculations was confirmed when we heard a male, probably the owner or manager, ask our server where she got the sake, and why did she choose that one in Chinese. Both Big Fly and I were thinking, “Dear Lord, what did we get ourselves into?” We politely asked our server to come back, pretending not to hear the conversation, and asked if the sake has gone bad because it seemed like so, and if it could be returned. She went away to talk to the male, and came back saying the sake was completely fine. We ended up not touching the sake and bringing it home, to say the least if this bit did not already sour our experience of the place, the food will.
Miso Soup & Green House Salad
I don’t usually order these two items, so most likely it was a complimentary dish due to it being dinner. The miso soup was simple and bland, with the dressing for the green salad being the usual AYCE ones.
Nigiri; unagi (BBQ eel) & uzura tobiko (flying fish roe with quail egg)
I ordered what I deemed safe, I didn’t even want to venture out to my usual saba or tamago. Rice was cooked nicely that you could see and feel each grain, the flavours were lacking a bit but still decent. Toppings were safe, only disappointment was the soggy seaweed.
It was nice to see that the Chicken Karaage here was made with chicken wings and not the usual boneless ones, I find them much juicier, unless thigh meat was used. Only four came with our order, the skin was nice and crispy but not seasoned whatsoever.
Taiji Roll; spicy tuna, tobiko in the roll then deep fried topped with a special sauce
The description doesn’t really paint that much of a visual, and is slightly different than what was brought out, but Big Fly wanted it because it was deep fried. The concept was interesting, but the final product felt flat. You could not tell that it was spicy tuna that was inside, and the sauces that were present for the roll was an unagi kabayaki sauce drizzled on top, and a sriracha mayo brushed around.
Beauty & The Beast Roll; spicy tuna, tempura chips, avocado topped with tuna, salmon & hamachi
I don’t know where the name comes from, because nothing in this reflects that. The spicy tuna was not spicy, I guess it’s just their recipe, instead they relied on the drizzling of sriracha mayo once again. It was generously cut pieces of sockeye salmon and hamachi that was placed on top along with avocado, that is the only reasoning I can give justifying the $10 price point.
By this point after our sake and sushi, we were already regretting coming here. Thankfully, we only had two more dishes to go through until we can go somewhere else. Wanting to try different aspects, Big Fly ordered something from their BBQ section, we both decided on the gizzards. It came doused in kabayaki sauce and sesame, the gizzard was chewy but not your usual gizzard-like tenderness, the only explainable reason is that it was blanched instead of barbecued. The taste and look of the skewers proved that as it shows no signs char both the skewer or the meat.
Oyster Motoyaki; baked oysters
Finally, we were so relieved when our last dish came. One order of Oyster Motoyaki gave you two, it looked exactly like the ones I’ve had in my younger AYCE days, and most promising of the night.
Don’t as me why we were given a fork to eat this, nothing here can be explained. It was exactly as I remembered it, aside from the looks it tasted exactly like every other AYCE places. Needless to say this was the best dish of the night next to the nigiris.
We couldn’t wait to pay our bill and get out, I might be a bit over exaggerating seeing how the night didn’t have a good start to begin with. The ratings for this place is pretty high too, but I notice that most were here for set lunches and bentos. Maybe we were too adventurous to try their items à la carte, but aside from getting a good deal for your dollar, you can find better quality and flavours from other places. Heck, even AYCE can do a better.